Federal agencies have until early August to complete draft scientific integrity policies, according to a recent memo from White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) director Dr. John Holdren.
Federal agencies are required by Presidential directive to develop and implement formal policies to ensure scientific integrity within their organization. Specifically, agencies must hire scientists based primarily on their technical expertise and not their ideology, subject scientific information to independent peer review when feasible, and ensure protections for whistleblowers. OSTP directed agencies to address transparency in public communication of science, professional development of government scientists and engineers, and lobbyists serving on federal advisory committees.
Agencies were required to submit a progress report to OSTP in April, a deadline which was met by 30 departments, agencies, and offices. Six government entities, including the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, submitted draft or complete policies.
It has been more than two years since President Obama directed his Administration to restore scientific integrity to government decision-making. The process should have been completed long ago, but OSTP overshot its deadline for releasing guidance to agencies by 17 months. The slow process has drawn criticism from members of Congress and the scientific community.
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